Your Quick Travel Guide to Gay Europe
July 26 2016
Europe, in general terms, is a great gay destination because of the acceptance, respect, and welcoming citizens from a diverse group of countries. Even when local LGBTQ people and their organizations point out the issues faced by the community, and even though there is a lot of work for full equality that still needs to be done, if you travel or relocate to Europe as an LGBT individual, you’ll more than likely feel welcomed and embraced. These are five of my favorite gay-friendly European capital cities.
Cloudy and gray at times, Berlin has a great heart. The city is thriving with arts, culture, and music. Crowded with hundreds of gay bars and gay or gay-friendly clubs, the German capital is at the heart of a new, gay Europe. Even with the city’s party reputation, there’s still plenty of culture in Berlin as well. You can visit the Schwules Museum, a unique place for finding gay art and history, or the beautiful Tiergarten, where nude sunbathing (FKK) is common, safe, and possible. Berlin also has bars and clubs dedicated to just about every fetish and interest — whether you’re interests are in fur, leather, nudity, or other things much more sinister-sounding. Don’t forget to visit iconic gay places like Mobel Ölfe, Schwuz, and well… if you can get in, Berghain.
London is synonymous with diversity and multiculturalism. The gay scene is definitely a reflection of this, and it’s present not only in the theater and tourist sites, from the West End to the pub theaters, but also in the world of music, art, and more. With popular activities like Naked Boys Reading, where you can enjoy the beauty of the male body and the gems of literature, London is as innovative as always. Bars like The Glory, for example, have become a magnet for queer culture, with drag shows and lip-singing contests
For some, Barcelona is the heart of gay Spain, but Madrid has its charms and is also home to Europe’s largest gay pride festival. The Madrid gay scene includes restaurants, bars, stores, and bookstores, especially the area around La Chueca. It’s not uncommon to spot a gay couple holding hands in the middle of Avenida, or while strolling in the beautiful El Retiro park. And beyond this, the culinary experience of Madrid is perfect for a romantic holiday, with many options for having a great gay travel experience. Also, the party Churros con Chocolate is one of Madrid’s biggest gay parties.
Being one of the first countries in the world to grant essential, basic LGBT rights, Copenhagen is attractive for its gay history as much as its current culture. A combination of museums, design shops, art, and top-quality restaurants make it one of Europe’s most attractive destinations. Most of the gay venues in Copenhagen are located around a single street, Studiestræde, where you’ll find a collection of trendy bars and independent shops. There’s the prison-themed Jailhouse CPH bar, or Never Mind, one of the few popular gay clubs.
Further east, Prague has been a beacon of gay culture for years, though the city only celebrated gay pride for the fifth time last year. In Prague, the popular Club Termix is often cited as the best gay bar and club in the city, with a lineup of fun parties and affordable drinks. In fact, it’s one of my favorite gay clubs in all of Europe. Saints Bar, in the vicinity, has become an icon, and regularly holds parties and small events. For those who want to chill out or have a conversation with locals, the Café Café is a great spot.
Europe is a big destination, obviously, so trying to plan a gay holiday through the continent can be a challenge — there’s just too much to see and do. Hopefully this post helps you out a bit.
Have you ever been to any of these cities? If so, what’d you think? If not, would you like to visit? What about your favorite gay destinations in Europe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!